Let’s face it, it’s been a tough year for everyone. But I believe strongly as a writer that it’s best to live in hope.
This is what I’m looking forward to with great hope in 2019. In late spring, a beautiful 20th anniversary edition of Iron Lake, with a totally new cover, will be released by my publisher, Atria Books, and will include a bonus Cork O’Connor short story. My journey began with Iron Lake, and it’s a work that still makes me proud.
I’ve signed a contract for two more novels in my Cork O’Connor series and will launch into the writing of the first of those in January. I’m so stoked!
But my greatest joy in the coming year will be the release this fall of This Tender Land, the companion novel to Ordinary Grace. I’ve been at work on the manuscript for three years, and I’m deeply in love with it. Set in southern Minnesota in the summer of 1932, well into the Great Depression, it’s the story of four orphans running from the law because they’ve committed a terrible crime, but for the all the right reasons. A manhunt has been launched to capture them, so they can’t take to the roads. They’re afraid to ride the rails, as everyone was doing in the Depression, because the railroads were patrolled by men called bulls, private police who had a reputation for incredible cruelty. They choose instead to take to the rivers. They canoe a river called the Gilead to the Minnesota River, follow the Minnesota to the Mississippi, and their intent is to canoe the Mississippi all the way to Saint Louis, where they believe they have family and will be safe. I have always wanted to write an updated version of Huckleberry Finn. This is my Huckleberry Finn.
I’ll leave you with a bit of the prologue to This Tender Land:
The tale I’m going to tell is of a summer long ago. Of killing and kidnapping and children pursued by demons of a thousand names. There will be courage in this story and cowardice. There will be love and betrayal. And, of course, there will be hope. In the end, isn’t that what every good story is about?